September is known as iPhone month in the tech world and Apple did not disappoint us this year.
We received three new phones and a redesigned Apple watch in two new sizes. All models have a notch and we finally bid farewell to the home button.
The flagship 5.8-inch iPhone XS, pronounced “10 es”, is the S update to last year’s model, along with the introduction of the 6.5-inch XS Max, Apple’s largest screen on a smartphone to date. S model updates are typically incremental with the addition of new colours and, in this case, a new gold shade for the flagships.
The XS and XS Max feature a new A12 bionic chip with a dedicated neural engine to handle artificial intelligence tasks that are capable of processing more than 5 trillion operations per second.
Technicalities aside, the processor is now nine times faster, which will launch apps even quicker and make playing games or multitasking a breeze.
Updates also include a better Oled display, stereo sound recording, faster facial unlocking and an improved IP68 water resistance of up to 2m.
Apple said it tested the new iPhones against coffee, orange juice and a few other drinks, so no need to worry about spills.
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While the 12MP dual cameras and 7MP selfie-cam remain the same resolution, the sensors have been updated for better quality photos, an improved portrait mode and a new Smart HDR mode. Both XS models will come in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB variants.
The new but slightly less expensive 6.1-inch iPhone XR model comes in a rainbow of colours – red, yellow, blue, coral, white and black. While it has the same A12 bionic chip, the difference is that it’s made with a cheaper aluminium frame and an LCD screen called liquid retina.
The camera set-up is a single lens 12MP wide-angle camera, with a 7MP selfie-cam, with TrueDepth support – a feature introduced in last year’s X.
This means that animoji and memojis will work on it, as will facial unlocking, so there’s no home button with a fingerprint sensor any more. As with last year’s model, face ID replaces touch ID, so all existing apps will work seamlessly. It will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variants.
All iPhone models – XS, XS Max, and XR – will support wireless charging and dual SIM cards, with one physical slot and one integrated eSIM card.
Apple also announced its Series 4 smart watch that comes in two new sizes – 40mm and 44mm – with a larger, edge-to-edge display.
The watch has fall detection that will notify your next of kin in an emergency and a ground-breaking, next-level heart rate monitor.
Users will get notified for too low or irregular heartbeats and have the ability to take an electrocardiogram. It’s the first time an over-the-counter product has this capability and is currently only approved in the US market.
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If you already own an Apple watch, the good news is that the straps will fit on the new models.
This new tech will make its way to South Africa sooner than expected, arriving at iStores on September 28. Pricing for the XS, XS Max and Apple Watch Series 4 is yet to be confirmed. The XR will be available at a later date.